Park High School: Foursome makes it official
It’s official. Four Park student-athletes will be taking their talents to the next level next year.
Anna Keys, Sydney Lamberty, Hannah Munson and Lauren Rein all signed National Letters of Intent to play college sports in a ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Park High School.
Keys signed to play hockey for the Minnesota State-Mankato, Lamberty signed to play basketball for Creighton University, Munson signed to bowl at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, and Rein signed to play basketball at St. Catherine’s University.
“All four of these individuals are, obviously, great athletes, but they’re also incredible students,” Park Activities Director Phil Kuemmel said. “These young ladies standout in that way. They’ve been with our programs a very long time. It’s hard to fathom these programs at Park without them.”
Nov. 13 was the very first day of the regular signing period for students to sign a national letters of intent. Fans, friends and family of the four girls filled the lecture hall at Park, creating what Kuemmel said was probably the biggest crowd he’s seen gather for a signing ceremony at Park.
A year after watching 2013 graduate Larissa Lurken sign with Kent State, having another two athletes – Lamberty and Rein - moving on to play college basketball meant a lot to Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen.
“This is a very exciting time,” said Tolkinen, who is in her ninth year as head coach of the Wolfpack. “This doesn’t get old for me. I know these girls were represent Park High School well when they go off to college.”
Already an all-state honorable mention and two-time all-conference player, Lamberty has been a varsity starter for the basketball team since her freshman year. She is currently second on the all-time scoring list in Park history with 1,679 points and is the school’s all-time steals leader in assists and steals for her career.
“I want to thank my family for doing everything they do and giving up every winter for me,” Lamberty said. “My coaches have always encouraged me and pushed me to do my best and I thank them for that. I wouldn’t be here without them and without my teammates. I can’t wait to go to Creighton and play basketball.”
Tolkinen said Lamberty “leads by example in practice and has probably been one of the hardest workers since she’s been here as an eighth grader.”
“She’s set her own goals and put in countless hours in the gym,” Tolkinen said. “It’s been a dream of hers to play college basketball. When you have the inner motivation that these girls have it doesn’t take much as a coach.”
Rein, who transferred to Park from East Ridge for her sophomore year, is a three-year varsity player for the Wolfpack and an IB full diploma candidate.
Tolkinen said Rein “has a passion for basketball.”
“I’ve known her since she was a young kid and she’s always loved basketball,” Tolkinen said. “She’s a hard worker and one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had come through our program. She does what’s asked of her, doesn’t question it or argue.
Tolkinen said Rein is a tremendous role player that will do all of the necessary things for her team to succeed: play defense, rebound, and score when needed.
“I think she’s truly committed herself, the last two years especially, to get in more shooting, more ball handling, more strength work because she wanted to play college basketball,” Tolkinen said. “She’s realizing her dreams now.”
Keys, one of Park’s top multi-sport athletes for the past four years, is a four-year letter winner for the Wolfpack girls hockey team and two-time all-conference award winner. She was selected to participate in USA Hockey’s National Select Camp at ages 15, 16, and 17. Keys suffered an ACL injury playing soccer for Park this fall but will return to play hockey for the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks next year.
“It’s been our pleasure to have Ana with us the last four seasons, since she was an eighth grader,” Park head coach Steve Morse said. “Mankato is getting a great person and a great hockey player.”
Morse said Keys “plays the game the right way.”
“She competes all the time, she plays strong, she does what she’s asked to do and then does her own thing within those guidelines,” he said. “She leads like she plays. She’s not very loud and doesn’t scream. She’s the prototypical leader by example and does things right on and off the ice, in school and in the community.”
Munson is a three time all-conference, all-city, and all-state bowler. She made headlines by bowling a 300 in the Junior Gold tournament while qualifying second in the U15 division last year. Munson held the highest average in the state last year for a female youth bowler (210) and had the highest three game series (741) on her way to winning three individual tournaments. She has led the Park girls team to three consecutive state tournaments, finishing as high as second place.
“I’m really looking forward to bowling at Grand View next year,” Munson said. “I just want to thank my coaches, my teammates and everyone that’s supported me over the years.”
Munson’s coach, Dave O’Ryan, said Munson is the third bowler from the program to receive a college scholarship.
“It’s like having a daughter earn this honor,” he said. “She’s been a backbone of our team the past three years. She’s going to do great at Grand View. She’s unbelievably coachable. She led this program statically, but also was the true leader of the program. She was the one up front and held her team and herself accountable.”